Crime & Courts

Man arrested in Fairbanks area on sex assault charges stemming from 2005 cold case

A 55-year-old man already on Alaska’s sex offender registry for a 1996 sex assault conviction has been charged in connection with an assault on a woman that occurred nearly two decades ago.

It’s the third cold case sex crime since late February and the fifth total that Alaska prosecutors have charged based on new evidence obtained through an ongoing effort to take a fresh look at DNA that went unexamined for years.

Guy Allan Nelson is charged with sexually assaulting a 34-year-old woman in a vehicle off the Glenn Highway in July 2005. Nelson was indicted Wednesday by an Anchorage grand jury on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault, according to the indictment. The state Office of Special Prosecutions presented the case.

Nelson was arrested in the Fairbanks area and is originally from Michigan, Alaska Department of Law spokeswoman Patty Sullivan said Thursday. She couldn’t say whether prosecutors believe Nelson could have been involved in other assaults.

[Previous reporting: After 3 years and $1.5 million devoted to testing rape kits, Alaska made one new arrest]

According to a felony arrest warrant issued in late March, the 2005 assault occurred several weeks after Nelson was released from prison on a 10-year sentence for a 1995 sexual assault.

The woman involved in that assault told investigators she knew Nelson from a job and he was visiting her in Seward the next summer when “out of the blue” he began hitting, choking and threatening her before he sexually assaulted her, according to an appeal Nelson filed to get a new trial in 1997. The state appeals court affirmed his conviction.


The woman involved in the 2005 assault told investigators she didn’t know the man who attacked her when they met at a bar in Anchorage, according to the warrant affidavit signed by Anchorage police Detective Brett Sarber. The woman said the man drove them north on the Glenn Highway before pulling off at an exit near what was then Fort Richardson.

The man pulled her out of the car, struck and choked her and sexually assaulted her, the woman told investigators at the time, according to the affidavit. Her rape kit was sent to the state lab for testing in 2005, and the suspect’s DNA was found but “the contributor of that DNA was unknown for several years,” Sarber wrote.

The sexual assault kit collected in the 2005 case was tested again as part of the Capital Project, a state-funded initiative to test and analyze all untested sexual assault kits collected by 47 police departments statewide, according to a statement from the Department of Law. The results identified a potential suspect through a DNA match.

The state crime lab found the possible match in September, the search warrant affidavit said.

The Anchorage Police Department’s Cold Case Unit reopened the case and conducted additional investigation, according to the statement. A judge granted a search warrant for Nelson’s DNA in November 2022, but Anchorage police were unable to track him down even “after extensively searching” for him, the arrest warrant said.

Nelson was arrested last week on the warrant by a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Taskforce with assistance from the Alaska State Troopers, a troopers spokesman said Thursday. Nelson, who was at a home in North Pole, was cooperative, a U.S. Marshals spokesman said.

He is being held at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on $100,000 cash bail, according to a state courts database.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at